Bernstein: Serenade, Facsimile, Divertimento

Bernstein: Serenade, Facsimile, Divertimento

by Marin Alsop
     
 

It's never been hard to find recordings of Leonard Bernstein's music -- as a composer-conductor, he made sure that his own interpretations of his works were available, and his legendary status among American musicians has encouraged his record labels to keep those recordings consistently in print. Luckily, that hasn't prevented younger generations from staking their…  See more details below

Overview

It's never been hard to find recordings of Leonard Bernstein's music -- as a composer-conductor, he made sure that his own interpretations of his works were available, and his legendary status among American musicians has encouraged his record labels to keep those recordings consistently in print. Luckily, that hasn't prevented younger generations from staking their claim on his music, and few conductors have done so with such assurance and success as Marin Alsop, herself a Bernstein protégé. In her second Bernstein album for the Naxos American Classics series, she leads the Bournemouth Symphony in three diverse works, at least one of which counts among the composer's masterpieces: the Serenade for solo violin, strings, harp, and percussion. Thanks to its gratifying role for the soloist, the Serenade is among Bernstein's most often performed works in the concert hall; on CD, too, it has recently enjoyed recordings by violinists including Hilary Hahn, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Joshua Bell. With this disc, Philippe Quint can proudly join their company, for with his lean, athletic tone and the agility with which he bounds between Bernstein's soaring melodies and boisterous dances, he's an ideal protagonist for the work. Quint's previous Naxos recording was a spellbinding performance of William Schuman's Violin Concerto, a much more challenging score for the listener; in the Bernstein, Quint's star power as a musical communicator is even more clear. With Facsimile (1946) and the Divertimento for Orchestra (1980), Alsop rounds out the program with music from opposite ends of Bernstein's career, earnestly melancholy in the former, brimming with gaiety in the latter. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, this is an easy recommendation for Bernstein fans or for anyone following the ascent of Alsop's career.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Even though he was widely celebrated as one of the most important American musicians of the twentieth century, Leonard Bernstein has already become the subject of a critical reassessment and cautious revival in the early twenty first. This 2005 Naxos CD presents three of Bernstein's appealing but underplayed and under-appreciated concert works, the tender "Serenade for solo violin, strings, harp, and percussion," the melodramatic ballet "Facsimile," and the comical "Divertimento for orchestra," in idiomatic, polished, and richly expressive performances by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Violinist Philippe Quint's solo part in the "Serenade" is deeply felt, lyrical, and lustrous, and his ingratiating playing makes this performance easy to like from the start. The rhythmic verve and dramatically heightened lines and textures of "Facsimile" are classic elements of Bernstein's theatrical style -- most notable in his Broadway musicals, but equally strong in his dance pieces. The wryly neo-Classical "Divertimento" is a fine example of Bernstein's wit and vitality, as strong as ever in his later years, and possibly the most entertaining work on the program for its bright colors, stylistic variety, and immediately memorable melodies. Naxos' recording is clear, clean, and resonant.
Gramophone - David Gutman
This is even better than Marin Alsop's previous Bernstein collection...combining a more generous playing-time with top-notch sound, lively as well as spacious.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2005
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943924525
catalogNumber:
8559245
Rank:
318620

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Serenade (after Plato: Symposium), for violin, harp, percussion & strings; also for violin & piano  - Leonard Bernstein  - Marin Alsop  - Timothy Walden  - Philippe Quint  -  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  2. Facsimile, Choreographic Essay, for orchestra (from the ballet)  - Leonard Bernstein  - Marin Alsop  -  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  3. Divertimento, for orchestra  - Leonard Bernstein  - Marin Alsop  -  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

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